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Old April 28th, 2012, 08:44 PM   #941
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Christchurch rebuild blueprint on its way

The threat of compulsory acquisition of private property in Christchurch's CBD is the elephant in the room no-one is talking about as the government moves to develop a new blueprint for the city's reconstruction. The blueprint will focus on defining large civic projects to anchor the rebuilding of the city centre. But tender documents released last week indicate reconstruction will require the amalgamation of current property titles.

The top priority project is a new conference centre that will require 20,000 sq m of land, but the Christchurch City Council doesn't own a parcel that size in a favoured location, said Ernest Duval, a spokesman for property owners group Core. The current convention centre, badly damaged in the February earthquake, occupies just 7000 sq m. "There isn't a parcel of land in a suitable location under one ownership," Duval said. "It is highly likely there will need to be a level of amalgamation, but that doesn't necessarily mean compulsory acquisition."

Duval said he expects Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee's new Christchurch Central Development Unit, part of the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera), will approach the issue sensibly and reasonably. "If it's fair and reasonable, there's no issue," he said. "But at the end of the day, the power lies with Cera and the CCDU." He said if a landowner is made an offer, it's "an offer they can't refuse" as the planned facilities are of national importance.

Last week the CCDU's newly appointed director of earthquake recovery, Warwick Isaacs, issued a tender seeking a consultant to develop the rebuild blueprint. "The vision contained in Volume 1 of [Christchurch City Council's] draft Recovery Plan needs further refinement to provide certainty to the community and provide clearer direction for investors," the document said. The document says the minister considers the council's proposed framework did not provide sufficient strategic direction in relation to the urban form and function of the CBD, or enough certainty regarding location and interaction of projects.
It also notes the CBD faces a number of challenges, including years of slow decline leading to inefficient use of real estate and ad hoc, poor quality development; low levels of residential use; competition from satellite centres; old office buildings that no longer meet the needs of businesses; insufficient demand to develop all of the available bare land left as a result of the earthquake; and 3000 different land titles covering a wide range of lot sizes. "This means that it is difficult to undertake development at a variety of scales sought by the market, and in particular, larger-scale developments that could gain from efficiencies and support multiple tenancies. There is little evidence of landowners consolidating their land holdings to create larger-scale projects," the document said.

Hamish Doig, managing director of property company Colliers' Christchurch brokerage, said the Christchurch CBD is an unusual environment with many properties owned by a large number of well-insured private investors. Many have been able to extinguish any borrowings on their properties out of their insurance payouts and there is little drive to rebuild. "They're able to sit on their hands with cash in the bank," he said. Meanwhile, the demolished city offers a blank slate for redevelopment. "There's an opportunity to get it right and build a vibrant, exciting environment," Doig said."A lot of small titles are an obstacle."

Doig said Cera has the power to acquire and if a landowner is an obstacle to redevelopment, that power will come to the fore. "These things require big land masses," he said. "The convention centre is too small and in the wrong location."
Defining where the new convention centre will be will in turn help define where hotels will congregate and where retail districts will be located, he said. The CCDU's tender includes a shopping list of a dozen anchor projects, including a new convention centre, stadium, metro sports facility and transport interchange.

The blueprint will guide business development and investment decisions by the public and private sectors by "providing certainty on the location of anchor projects and on the form and function of related areas within the CBD", it said. The blueprint must define their locations, footprint and "conceptual form", and ensure they are fit for purpose in a city, regional and national context. The blueprint, which is to be developed within three months of the consultant's appointment, will also confirm the location of significant existing structures likely to remain.The amended Recovery Plan may also include objectives, policies and methods that may later be incorporated within the Christchurch City Council's district plan, it said.

The CBD is defined as the area bounded by Bealey Ave, Fitzgerald Ave, Moorhouse Ave, and Deans Ave. "Work will also be undertaken within the CCDU on investment options. This work will also need to be integrated with the [consultant's] services," the tender says. "Drafting of an amended Recovery Plan for the CBD and seeking investment will occur in parallel with this work, and all work streams will need to work closely together to ensure consistency and cohesion," it says, adding that while some existing buildings and infrastructure remain, "these are not sacrosanct".

A consultant is expected to be appointed just five days after the tender closes in early May. According to the document, of 820 commercial buildings within the CBD, around 600 will be demolished.
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Old April 29th, 2012, 08:07 AM   #942
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Madras Street Set to Reopen Tomorrow

One of Christchurch’s main one-way streets will reopen fully tomorrow for the first time since February 22 2011, and the move will be celebrated with a cycle “race”. The remaining section of Madras Street between Tuam St and Latimer Sq will be opened to traffic from 3.30 tomorrow, Sunday April 29. A temporary road has been constructed through an empty site to divert the traffic around the cordon on the corner of Cashel and Madras streets. At 3pm tomorrow, CERA chief executive Roger Sutton, the Mayor Bob Parker, and CERA GM of Infrastructure Richard MacGeorge will cycle from Latimer Sq to the Tuam Street corner, before declaring the road open. Media are welcome to position themselves at either end of the short “race”.
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 05:47 AM   #943
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http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/rebu...phs-over-chaos

Anyone have pics of this building?

Also I think it's quite funny/wrong/interesting (not really sure which word to pick there) that in the rendering of the Rural Bank Building, they show the reflection of the Cathedral.
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 12:44 PM   #944
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That render would have been from before the fate was sealed. I guess it just shows the building's prominent position on the Square.
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 11:07 PM   #945
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Small rays of light: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/new...d#post_comment

Brilliant, really
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Old May 3rd, 2012, 03:25 AM   #946
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"Pacific Towers under review"

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/bus...d-by-engineers
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Old May 4th, 2012, 04:22 AM   #947
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I see the red zone is now reduced further. The blocks immediately west of Madras Street- that Oxford, Armagh and Hereford have reopened

Not much left there but I'll get down there this weekend and take some photos for those that are out of town and cant see for yourselves.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 04:27 AM   #948
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Would be excellent for the cbd if they moved back into town- Gen-i originally had an office in Hereford Street.

Telecom's Gen-i to Build $10.5m Quake Proof Data Centre

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/bus...of-data-centre

Telecom's information technology subsidiary, Gen-i, is building a $10.5 million data centre in Christchurch, although it is mum on exactly where.

Gen-i South Island head Paul Deavoll said the company has seen increased demand from Christchurch clients looking to move their IT infrastructure to data centres following the quakes.

"Several of our Christchurch clients are still working from temporary premises and are relying on us to house their ICT [information communications technology] infrastructure in secure, robust and resilient data centres at competitive prices."

The new data centre would be "incredibly robust", with back-up generators, able to withstand quakes the size of the February 22 one, he said.

The centre was essentially 100 racks that could hold the equipment that would otherwise be at business premises.

Customers would have greater security for their information and easier access to cloud computing for backing up important files, storage and internet security, he said.

The company already had two data centres in the city, at Hillmorton and Hereford St, as part of its 14 existing centres around the country.

Construction of the planned centre will start mid- year and be finished before the year's end, but Deavoll would not give locations.

"We're working with some developers and have a couple of options, but we haven't confirmed them yet."

Most of the equipment housed at the centre would be servers, but routing and firewalling could be housed among others.

In March, parent company Telecom signed an agreement with Christchurch-based Enable to deliver fibre-based services, including ultrafast broadband, to Christchurch businesses using Enable's network.

Enable is a joint venture between the Government's Crown Fibre Holdings, and city-owned Enable Services, to provide ultrafast fibre broadband to homes and businesses in Christchurch and surrounding centres as part of the national UFB initiative. Enable was launched in 2007, then called Christchurch City Networks, a fully owned subsidiary of Christchurch City Holdings, the investment arm of the Christchurch City Council.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 11:15 AM   #949
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I reckon the owners of the Pacific Tower will be the next one to be given the full "Political presure'' to de-construct as is too high for their new Christchurch model city that they so eagerly want.
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Old May 7th, 2012, 04:17 AM   #950
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"Put people first in designs of new public buildings"

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opi...blic-buildings
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Old May 8th, 2012, 01:08 AM   #951
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Rebuild planner to be chosen soon

Four companies have been short-listed to design and plan Christchurch's central-city rebuild. Tenders to the Central Christchurch Development Unit (CCDU) to design the architectural, engineering and urban planning elements of the rebuild closed on Friday. Fifteen conforming proposals were submitted, short-listed to four at the weekend and the finalists interviewed yesterday. The contract will be awarded tomorrow and announced on Thursday, the same day the successful bidder starts work at the CCDU. The document is due on July 27. CCDU chief executive Warwick Isaacs said most of the short-listed bids had "significant international credentials".

Sheppard & Rout architect Jasper van der Lingen said the contenders were likely to be consortiums of several companies. His company was part of one of the 15 bids, but he would not say with whom. "A number of groups have been brought together. I know some of them have gone for a mixture of international, national and local representation," van der Lingen said. "I don't think anyone in New Zealand would have the experience in all the different fields [CCDU] are after." The 100-day deadline was a "ridiculously short period of time", van der Lingen said. "They might have some broad brush stuff at the end of this 100-day deadline which will give them some direction but, because of the complexities, I'm sure it'll spill out beyond the 100 days."
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Old May 8th, 2012, 01:17 AM   #952
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"Global Expertise for Rebuild"

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/rebu...se-for-rebuild
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Old May 8th, 2012, 07:12 AM   #953
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" Bob Jones ?''

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opi...BD-into-a-lake
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Old May 8th, 2012, 07:50 AM   #954
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Sudima Christchurch Airport Hotel in for Big Upgrade

Sudima Hotels are pleased to announce plans to significantly upgrade and refurbish its Sudima Hotel Christchurch Airport property. Today, Catalyst Consulting Ltd were formally appointed to oversee the project, with Catalyst Director, Colin Depree, personally heading up his talented team. Les Morgan, Director of Operations Sudima Hotels says, “Although soft refurbishment activity has been underway for some time, the decision to accelerate and broaden the programme is in direct response to business demand, and our desire to really reinvest in support of the economic recovery of Christchurch. Additionally, it will enhance the Christchurch International Airports wider services, demonstrating our commitment to this partnership.”

It is anticipated the scope of the work will include all aspects of the Hotel with a view to bringing the property up to a Qualmark Four Star International Hotel rating. The stage one is to be undertaken immediately. The refurbishment will be managed effectively so as to not interrupt normal business trading. Hind Group is a long time property investor & hotel owner in this country. They currently operate three hotels under the “Sudima” brand and one self-contained apartment style property in Australia. Sudima Christchurch Airport, dominates the entrance to the airport and currently has 208 rooms. The Hind Group is owned by L.N. Jhunjhnuwala’s family interests out of Hong Kong and is represented here by Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala, who has made New Zealand his home since 2001.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 05:08 PM   #955
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Bob Jones on Christchurch rebuild: turn CBD into a lake

With the passing of time, we have a better perspective on Christchurch’s CBD rebuilding prospects. The sheer scale is clearer, with some 85% – over 800 buildings covering a 40ha business area – destined for demolition. Last month, when I was shown through by the Christchurch Central Development Unit of Cera, it seemed about half had already been reduced to vacant lots. But familiar now with the impact of the earthquakes, I felt no nostalgia; instead, I felt optimistic that something better could arise.

I recalled the last time I was in Christchurch, as guest speaker – ironically, at the request of its engineers – for the opening of the huge Inland Revenue building. (To its owner’s delight, it’s now destined for demolition.) It was a Friday night and I strolled the streets, shocked at the empty shops and absence of 5.00pm traffic. This was pre-earthquake, a central city with its life wheezing from it. In that sense the earthquake has been a deliverance.

Cities have many components – libraries, art galleries, council offices, theatres, halls and other public facilities. These comprise the indulgent element, paid for from the public purse. But they cannot exist in isolation and alone constitute a city. Rather, they emanate from the steady organic growth of a city centre’s commercial activities in the form of shops and offices. Christchurch’s retail heart was clearly in trouble, with empty shops abounding, while the remainder lived off office workers, who are now gone. The emergence of large suburban shopping centres killed off the CBD as a retail location, as has occurred in many cities throughout the Western world. New Zealand examples include Lower Hutt and, increasingly, Hamilton.

It would be possible to build a smaller Christchurch CBD with high-rise office buildings to support a smaller retail base if the office buildings were confined to a tight area. That is physically possible, but it is not financially feasible for several reasons. First, because these buildings would be new, I estimate they would require rentals at least four times those pre-earthquake.

For tenants from Christchurch’s older buildings, which is most of them, the new rentals could be 10 times as high, which would plainly be untenable. Because of the earthquake factor, engineering costs aligned with Wellington code standards would be significantly greater than before, as would insurance – assuming one could find an insurer prepared to take on the risk, for currently none will – and on top of that would be a signifi cant investment-risk premium. At such rates, tenants would not be forthcoming and therefore nor would developers.

Additionally, the investors who would be needed to take the end product off the developers would shy away, and without such pre-commitment banks will not fund their construction. Pre-earthquake Christchurch was deemed a poor office-building investment location by major professional investors, as for sound reasons its office market lacked the potential for rental growth and therefore capital growth. Thus the city’s buildings were almost entirely owned by local hobby ists and sentimentalists, as is the case with most of our provincial cities in which commercial rentals have faded to a fraction of what they would be if they bore any sensible relationship to replacement costs.

Already some developers have issued plans for theoretical new constructions, but all with the proviso of first obtaining tenants. Even if they achieve that, they will face fresh problems in being unable to obtain bank finance, insurance and an end investor. Aside from that, these developers are freaks. For most CBD building owners, the devastation has proven a windfall. They have taken their insurance money and sensibly reinvested it in Auckland and Australia, as real-estate agents will readily confirm. Who can blame them?

Furthermore, if the anecdotal evidence is accepted, most have received payouts based on replacement costs, which have been far in excess of their now-demolished buildings’ former market value. Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee expressed concern at this capital flight in mid-April, but the owners are simply acting rationally. The rebuilding of Europe’s bomb destroyed cities after World War II took two decades, but even then it was only possible because those cities had sizeable populations, which meant an instant market for new offices and shops. That is not the case in Christchurch, aside from the financing and insuring difficulties.

Beirut provides a recent example. Its CBD rebuilding after the civil war offers a potential physical model for Christchurch. Entirely pedestrianised, with attractive sixto eight-level mixed residential and office buildings and street-level shops, cafes, gardens and fountains, Beirut’s new centre is a delight. But – and unfortunately there is a but – it was substantially funded by a successful sentimental appeal to the global Lebanese diaspora, motivated less by immediate financial considerations.

Additionally, with no earthquake factor and cheap Syrian and Muslim Lebanese labour, construction costs were a fraction of Christchurch’s. Plus, urban Lebanese are habitual apartment dwellers, which is not the case in Christchurch. Harvard professor Ed Glaeser, in his acclaimed 2010 book Triumph of the City, made the valid point that the construction of great cities has nearly always been a consequence of authoritarian governments.

The recent building from scratch in a decade of Kazakhstan’s striking new capital, Astana – now with a population twice that of Christchurch – epitomises this, its existence arising solely through the irrational whim of its all-powerful president, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Economics played no role in Astana’s construction, for if it had, the city could never have been built. For example, public servants were lured north from the delightful old capital, Almaty, by the temptation of luxury apartments at minuscule rentals – an attractive proposition after their Soviet-era horror apartments. As that is not the New Zealand way, a new approach is required for Christchurch.

Christchurch has always justifiably boasted of being our garden city. One strategy could be to build on this desirable feature and abandon thoughts of resurrecting its CBD. It could follow the model of many Christchurch-sized American cities with insignificant CBDs and instead comprise suburbs, each with its own pedestrianised commercial centre of low-rise, low-cost walk-up offices with shops below, in garden settings, much like the delightful Havelock North. If Christchurch were to restructure itself this way, which is both practical and financially feasible, it would require an army of gardeners, not builders, to transform it into a different but hugely admired and desirable garden city.

The best thing about this approach is that such buildings, while still attractive, are comparatively cheap to build and so could be offered at acceptable rentals. Even better, they could be built quickly and, because of their small size, would enjoy a ready hobbyist end-purchaser investor take-up. Another consideration overlooked by politicians and the public is that investors are not developers – and nor do they wish to be. Development is fraught with difficulties, which is why ultimately all property developers go broke. Property developers are free-spirited adventurers with other people’s money. Professional property investors, on the other hand, tend to be highly conservative and risk-averse, and to expect them to take their windfall insurance money and adopt a complete personality change is simply naive. However, the simplicity of two-level walk-ups would eliminate many concerns.

If my garden approach were adopted, major surviving buildings, such as the Art Gallery and others, would no longer sit in a streetscape but instead in isolation in a garden setting – an arguably more appealing scenario. The planners should certainly abandon the ridiculous Noddyland Terrace offices proposal put before the public, plainly designed by people with no awareness of contemporary office demands for space and light. Brownlee was totally correct last year in describing most of the destroyed building stock as “old dungers”, and this proposal simply offers new dungers. The pre-earthquake Christchurch CBD, with its numerous redundant buildings and vacant shops, is gone forever. The planners have a blank sheet and should think afresh about the opportunity this presents. But there’s an even more exciting and workable approach that I would advance.

Readers will be familiar with the world’s 10 best cities rankings, which periodically pop up. Late last year, a European-sourced list came out that understandably was embraced in the capital as, surprisingly, it had Wellington in second place. Interestingly, the list also included three Swiss cities that, perhaps Geneva aside, don’t usually make such lists. I sought the common denominators of the selections, then searched my memory of previous lists, which invariably included Vancouver, Sydney, Hong Kong and the like. I realised they shared a common feature: they were all sited around lakes or harbours. The exception on that latest list was Frankfurt. But aside from its garden suburbs, soaring city towers and a pedestrianised CBD, it straddles a large river, sufficiently slow-moving to allow yachting and other water activities; a de facto lake, in fact.

Over 85% of Christchurch’s CBD buildings are destined for demolition, and a recent report says this may be an underestimation. The city centre is irrevocably gone. But imagine if the Government were to use its powers and seize all CBD sites. Most are valueless, anyway. Even if insanely of a mind to rebuild through an altruistic sentiment, the owners can hardly do so in isolation and expect tenants to occupy a building standing alone.

Here’s the answer. Create a massive irregular-shaped lake with bays and inlets on the destroyed CBD land. Each former CBD site owner could then be allocated a lakeside site, its size reflecting the former rating value. Along the lake edge could be sandy beaches with rafts anchored offshore to swim to. Elsewhere, perhaps, could be deeper coves with fixed diving boards and waterslides. Some mid-lake fountain jets would add to the ambience, as could a lakeside concert soundshell, as in Napier, and a jutting- into-the-water band rotunda. Motor boats would be banned, but rowboats, sculling and yachts would be welcomed. The naming of bays would add to the interest; Hadlee Inlet, for example.

In parts, the lake could be quite deep to ensure its health, and possibly the Avon could be diverted to it, emerging elsewhere. The bottom could be lined with river boulders, widely available in Canterbury, and the lake filled with cockabillies and other trout food – then trout in due course. Resident white swans could be introduced, then other marine bird life would soon make their home there, particularly if a section was left shallow and planted with reeds. Around the lake’s irregular circumference, set back 70m or so from the lake-edge, there could be a four-lane, both-directions highway, broken by periodic roundabouts, to allow motorists to change direction. A lawn all the way around the lakefront could be established, and the council would keep some spaces as permanent treed picnic and bathing parks.

The allocated site owners could build lakeside apartments, office blocks and possibly retail facilities. They won’t, mind you, for the reason I expanded on above, but they could sell the sites to developers who will. The huge advantage in this scheme is that a developer could build, say, a sixstorey apartment block, which would work as it could stand in isolation, its salient feature being its lakefront view. That is not the case when building in isolation in the ruined CBD.

There would still be the problem of unpayable rentals for new office buildings. But I suspect the prospect of sparkling lake views, with yachts, fountains, swans, scullers, etc, would, in the case of the more prosperous professional firms, see them accept the higher rates. If accountants, lawyers et al can pay them in Auckland and Wellington, they can pay them in Christchurch, too. The cathedral, previously the city’s best-known landmark, could be rebuilt centre-lake, with a flower-gardened-edged access causeway. Designed in a spectacular modern style, and lit up at night, it could reclaim its former status as the city’s principal architectural and tourist landmark.

Many people will be familiar with Canberra, a city with an identical population to Christchurch. They will know its prime feature is Lake Burley Griffin, named after the city’s Chicago designers. What they may not know, however, is that the lake was not constructed until 1963, 40 years after Canberra was built. It was filled by damming a river, which I’m not suggesting for the Avon. There are lots of other options to achieve that.

The council could maintain the lawns and the spur of rates on sites left undeveloped would hasten rebuilding. The sites would have considerable value, but doubtless would also attract the affluent seeking to build large homes. The reclaimed land spoil could be used, perhaps at one end of the lake, to create a sloping hillside, providing enhanced views to appeal to home builders. Alternatively, it could be forested.

A lakeside Christchurch would be a very different but immensely more appealing city than the one it replaced. Such a proposition is perfectly practical. There are companies, such as Chile’s Crystal Lagoons, that specialise in lake construction. More particularly, Cantabrians have form here, as evidenced by the Clearwater development north of Christchurch. Its two artificial lakes are clean and people swim in them and flyfish for trout. If neither option is embraced, our second city will comprise suburbs around a permanent large central bomb site. Invariably, it will soon become our third then fourth-largest city, in perpetual decline.

A concern constantly expressed to me in Christchurch was the flight by young people to Auckland and Australia, and frankly, who can blame them. One final thought: to get some action, the Government may need to underwrite the understandable reluctance of building financiers and insurers. There’s no need to actually fork out; rather, the Government could allow the insurers and banks to do their job by offering a future earthquake damage guarantee. I suspect most taxpayers would accept that. After all, this is not Westport we’re talking about, but a much-loved city.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 07:13 PM   #956
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^
I hope this doesn't happen to ChCh, Milton Keynes in the UK did something like this in the 1960's.I went through Milton Keynes last year and its the butt of UK town jokes.Look at all the top/best cities around the world Vancouver Auckland and New York all have a central point for people to work,party and celebrate so it attracts young professionals.
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Old May 10th, 2012, 05:30 AM   #957
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"Christchurch rebuild designer announced"

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/new...gner-announced
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Old May 10th, 2012, 12:28 PM   #958
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yes, the idea on paper sounds quite cool and funky... but still doesn't really offer much practicality and yes, Milton Keynes (cough)...
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Old May 10th, 2012, 11:39 PM   #959
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Poor Westport...

Lake idea does seem cool but I think that article is quite flawed...

You cant compare Christchurch to the US cities he mentions because Christchurch is far more important on a national and even international level. For the most part they don't get nearly the same amount of tourists coming through and don't have the business output that we have.

Zurich (and Geneva) IS regualary voted amongst the best cities to live in. The reason the others aren't is because they don't have the population to make the list. Wellington is only considered because it's the capital.

And the cities that are "all sited around lakes or harbours". Duh, most cities round the world are. Christchurch could be the same except we don't embrace our coastline. Bowl horrible New Brighton and build apartments and a decent shooping strip there too. The pier is awesome.

My two cents. Totally agree with zilvia.
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Old May 11th, 2012, 01:13 AM   #960
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Regardless of whether the lake idea has any merit if its an idea floated by Bob Jones I become very suspicious.

The guy is an anachronistic throw back which no tact, decency or concern for anyone other than himself.

He doesnt give a shit about Christchurch, never has, all I see this is him trying to raise his profile.

Wow a man made lake, lets become the next Canberra. :shudders:
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